LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: James Harden #32 of the 2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team laughs during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 30, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Malauri Swindoll wears a beard like Houston Rockets' James Harden as she takes part in a pre-game rally before Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Sunday, April 20, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Rockets basketball player James Harden throws out a ceremonial first pitch at the Houston Astros baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, June 29, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Gerardo Cervantes wears a beard like that of Houston Rockets' James Harden as he enters the arena for Game 2 of the Rockets' opening-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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By ERIC LYONS
NBA shooting guard and Houston Rockets star James Harden is known for his high-energy play on the court, but he is also known for something else -- his signature beard.
Harden and his facial fur have appeared on late-night talk shows and regularly star in commercials for Footlocker, but over the past couple of months have become social media sensations. While Harden's official Twitter account has over 2.2 million followers and his beard's account boasts 16,000 followers. Pictures and designs of Harden's profile –- yes, the outline of his face -– have become a social media phenomenon. Images made out of items that range from flowers to real human hair have been shared, liked and retweeted thousands of times -- not to mention featured by sports outlets such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated.
The man behind this movement, Croatian illustrator/designer Fillip Peraic, started to make the profiles when he wanted a "creative way to challenge and express himself."
"I was looking for a human face interesting enough to draw again and again. I'm a basketball fan, so I gave it some thought and came up with James Harden," Peraic told AOL.
He created over 10 variations of the profile using items and designs, which include turning Harden's head into a map and making it look like a whale for the project he dubbed 'James Harden Illustrated.' The project has become so popular Peraic started to sell t-shirts and prints of the profiles.
As far as the future goes, Peraic says, "I'm always thinking about the next James Harden. I have no clue what it will look like, but I'm sure I'll find a way to surprise myself and you guys."
While Harden hasn't publically acknowledged the project yet, Peraic is pretty sure he has seen it.